Climate change ‘already felt’: Britons want net zero accelerated

A new poll has revealed overwhelming concern about the environmental crisis among UK residents, with a significant increase in the past four months.

The latest research from Ipsos Political Monitor, based on responses between 21st and 27th July 2022, has laid bare the extent to which the British public is fearful of climate change, with 7 in 10 stating they believe the effects are already being felt. 

silhouette of trees during sunset

Overall, 84% of those who took part in the poll said they were ‘concerned’ about the issue, with 52% now considering themselves to be ‘very concerned’. This represents an eight point increase since April, although the results are consistent with findings from summer 2019 and 2021. 

More so, 72% of Britons stated they believe the country is already feeling the effects of climate change caused by human activity, with just 12% considering this to be caused by natural weather processes, while 45% state conditions are a combination of both.

Two years earlier, 26% thought that year’s hot summer was due to human activity, 15% said natural processes, and 57% a mixture of both. In a strong message to politicians, 52% of people polled said all emissions should be brought to net zero before 2050, while just 7% think the country should slow down on its efforts in this area, and 11% disagreeing with any targets whatsoever. 

‘These findings show that public concern about climate change is real and widespread but in reality this is nothing new. The public have been concerned about climate change for some time and recognise its effects are already with us. It is no surprise then that they want to see urgent action to address it, though some may disagree over the right action to take,’ said Kieran Pedley, Director of Politics at Ipsos UK. 

In July, an analysis of the televised Conservative Party leadership debates found candidates had tackled the subject of the climate crisis for just two minutes, while grass fires broke out across the country and temperatures exceeded 40C for the first time in recorded history, with several parts of mainland Europe also left battling flames due to searing heat.  

Image credit: Matt Palmer


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